Sustainable Fur: Truths & Lies About Fur Sustainability
Posted on February 01 2023
Sustainable Fur: Truths & Lies About Fur Sustainability
The fur industry is riddled with questions and assumptions regarding sustainability, and it’s important to decipher the truth from the lies. If you are questioning whether or not to invest in real fur pieces or opt for faux fur options this upcoming winter, consider the following environmental effects of fur and its alternatives.
Is Fur Sustainable?: The Truth Behind Fur Sustainability
There are many benefits to investing in real fur pieces. First and foremost, its incredible thermal qualities are sure to keep you warm and dry throughout the colder seasons. Not to mention, they always stay in style. However, the benefits go beyond these simple reasons, such as the many ways real fur is sustainable.
All real fur is biodegradable and renewable, which lessens its impact on landfills. Additionally, because fur is able to last for decades, it is often reworked from older pieces to eliminate waste. For example, new designs can be created through patchwork, a process in which styles are made by reusing fur materials leftover in the production of other garments. Techniques of resewing the fur have been used for more than 100 years, and high quality fur can almost always be reworked into a garment, blanket or pillows.
Fur is truly an investment piece and has always been an heirloom item of sentimental value, often handed down from generation to generation as a tradition in families. These pieces won’t grow out of style, and if needed, they can be reworked into better fitting and modernized styles.
“The fur industry as a whole has always been sustainable. It is not just a trend for us,” said Nick Pologeorgis, owner of Pologeorgis. “We have always used all of the valuable material, fur and shearling that could be used. It makes sense for us economically and of course very importantly it is beneficial for the environment. It is our mission to reduce the amount of waste that is in fashion now.”
However, just as there are many benefits to real fur, there are downsides as well. Most arguments against fur arise from animal rights advocates, as the use of animal fur is necessary to maintain the industry. What most people don’t realize is that the fur industry ensures ethical animal welfare. According to the International Fur Federation, fur farming is governed by strict regulations putting animal welfare first, and conservation programs will continue with or without the fur trade. The natural fur industry is sustainable for creating purpose out of inevitable waste.
Another downside can be the extensive care needed to maintain the quality and appearance of fur. There are many precautions from cleaning and repairing to storage that go into caring for fur, but if done so properly, fur can last for a very long time. And although it will last many seasons, it is only meant to be worn in the fall and winter, so it is generally in storage for half the year.
Despite these downsides of real fur, they are few in comparison to those of fur alternatives.
Fur is a renewable resource, which can be redesigned and transformed, whereas faux fur and manmade fabrics of fast fashion are nonrenewable and petroleum based. Faux fur is typically made of nylon, acrylic and polyester in processes that use three times as much non-renewable energy as real fur, according to the International Fur Trade Federation. Not only does non-biodegradable faux fur amass landfills, but each time it is washed, plastic enters the water, reaching the marine food chain and our drinking water.
Additionally, faux fur relies on the cheap processes of fast fashion, which may include dangerous labor conditions, whereas with real fur, there is a transparent and quality supply chain. Pologeorgis uses FurMark, the international mark of responsible and sustainable natural fur, and SAGA Furs, which uses certified pelts with traceability throughout its supply chain. Each garment carries a label which certifies where it was made and the materials used. This way, customers know where their garment came from, the process of how it was made and who made it.
Does Fur Decompose?
Fur is a natural, organic and renewable resource. Because of this, it is biodegradable, which means in time it will decompose. The ability to decompose enforces its sustainability, but is no reason to worry when investing in fur pieces. If taken care of properly, fur can last anywhere from decades to a century before decomposing.
Aside from fur care, there are ways to slow down the decomposition process starting from when the garment is made. Initially, pelts undergo a special tanning process known as “dressing.” According to the Fur Commission USA, this process softens and preserves fur hides without damage and typically includes dyeing, shearling and texturing. This prepares the natural fur to be wearable for decades.
Why Wear Fur?: 3 Reasons Why Fur is a Great Choice
1) Fur is sustainable
In comparison to faux fur and fast fashion, real fur is renewable, biodegradable and can be reworked into new styles. Reconstruction of garments and their eventual decomposition lessen the impact on landfills and eliminate waste.
2) Fur is long lasting
With proper care and storage, fur can last anywhere from decades to a century. Its natural fibers make it very durable, and it undergoes processes to maintain its quality and appearance. Although it tends to be expensive, it is considered an investment piece, which can be passed down through your family as an heirloom for generations.
3) Fur is Warm and Versatile
Real fur provides incredible thermal warmth, which is a main reason people choose to wear it. Fur can be worn when walking the streets of a city to attending formal events. There are many different types of furs and ways to style them for a look that is either casual or elegant.
When it comes to fur sustainability, benefits tend to outweigh the downsides, especially in comparison to alternative fur options. We hope you consider the many reasons why fur is a great choice and invest in a warm piece for this upcoming winter (and next few decades).